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PRESS RELEASE : STATEMENT BY THE HONOURABLE DATO’ SAIFUDDIN ABDULLAH, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF MALAYSIA AT THE HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT OF THE 2019 SESSION OF THE CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT GENEVA, 26 FEBRUARY 2019

STATEMENT BY

THE HONOURABLE DATO’ SAIFUDDIN ABDULLAH,

MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF MALAYSIA

AT THE HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT

OF THE 2019 SESSION OF THE CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT

GENEVA, 26 FEBRUARY 2019

 

Mr. President,

Excellencies,

Distinguished Delegates,

 

Let me at the outset congratulate you, Mr. President, on your assumption of the Presidency of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) at the beginning of its 2019 session.

 

  1. It is such a privilege for me to address the CD at this juncture, as this multilateral disarmament negotiating forum marks the 40th year of its formation.  I assure you of Malaysia’s support for the Presidency and all constructive initiatives to enable the CD deliver its mandate.

 

  1. I would also like to record Malaysia’s gratitude to Mr. Michael Moller, Director General of the United Nations Office in Geneva and Secretary General of the CD for his instrumental role in facilitating the work of the CD. 

 

Mr. President,

 

  1. Malaysia’s unwavering commitment to international peace and security and to global disarmament and non-proliferation, in particular to the common goal of a world free of nuclear weapons, underpins our membership in the CD.  

 

  1. Malaysia became a CD member at the time this Forum had finalised the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), the second of the only two disarmament treaties that this Forum has concluded. That is almost 24 years ago.  The CD has since been in a stalemate for more than two decades. Such is the state of the CD that we as its members and the international community at large have been reflecting upon.  

 

  1.   The CTBT, now with more than 180 signatories and more than 160 ratifications, has yet to enter into force.  Malaysia continues to call for the entry into force of this Treaty without further delay and an end to nuclear weapons tests.  We believe the CD still has an important role in this regard.

 

Mr. President,

 

  1. It is also regrettable that the other multilateral nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation framework, namely the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), too is still lacking progress.  

 

  1. Our humanity and our world continue to be confronted with clear and growing threats and risks of nuclear conflagration with catastrophic consequences, regardless if it is due to deliberate nuclear war or military incidents.  Some 15,000 nuclear arms exist in different parts of the world.  Nuclear arsenals are constantly modernised and adapted according to strategic defence doctrines of the States which possess them.

 

  1. Malaysia firmly believes that total elimination of nuclear weapons is the only solution against possible use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.  Greater political will and more concrete actions are urgently required to achieve this goal. 

 

  1. All the commitments and obligations under the NPT should be effectively pursued and implemented to end not only horizontal but also vertical proliferations of nuclear weapons. The obligation under Article VI, which has been legally reinforced by the International Court of Justice in 1996, must therefore continue to be accorded the highest priority and be pursued in earnest.     

 

  1. Indeed, the NPT has been a cornerstone in the multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation regime.  Malaysia is honoured to have been given the mandate to chair the Third Session of the NPT Preparatory Committee, which is scheduled to take place in New York from 29 April to 10 May 2019.

 

  1. As Chair of the Third PrepCom, Malaysia will work closely with NPT States Parties and other stakeholders to create positive momentum during the current treaty review cycle.  With active and constructive support from all concerned, Malaysia will strive to ensure there will be substantive recommendations in 2019 to generate greater prospects for success during the 2020 NPT Review Conference.

Mr. President,

 

  1. It is in the context of Malaysia’s long-standing and principled commitment to the common goal of a world without nuclear weapons, that we signed the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. 

 

  1. Malaysia also welcomes the United Nations Secretary-General’s ‘Disarmament Agenda’ and we hope it can reinvigorate multilateral disarmament efforts, and guide the work of this Forum.

 

Mr. President,

 

  1. As the CD enters its 40th year, it is imperative that this Forum be reactivated to overcome the impasse of the past 23 years.

 

  1. Malaysia welcomes the recent initiatives, particularly the establishment of the CD’s subsidiary bodies to advance its work.  The deliberations have been valuable in creating renewed momentum and clarity of positions and priorities.

 

  1. Certainly greater political will and flexibility is required to move the work of this Forum forward.  Priorities on the issues under the CD’s agenda should be rationalised, not making one as a precondition for another.  In other words, for the sake of overcoming paralysis in this Forum, we cannot remain entrenched in our respective national positions. 

 

  1. It’s also time for the CD membership to be expanded to ensure greater engagement, reflecting collective efforts in the global disarmament and non-proliferation agenda.

 

  1. Let us be resolute in fulfilling our collective obligations, honouring our commitments and striving for progress through cooperative multilateralism in the Conference on Disarmament.  

 

I thank you, Mr. President.